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Hassan Whiteside Opting Into Final Year of Deal With Heat Proves He Only Cares About Money

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 20:  Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat reacts against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half at American Airlines Arena on October 20, 2018 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside is expected to opt into the final year of his deal with the team, per the latest reports. Towards the end of the 2018-19 NBA season, Whiteside saw a significant drop in minutes, and it's hard to see a starring role for him going forward. By opting into the final year of his deal, he's proving that he doesn't care about earning more minutes or winning a championship with a better team-- he just cares about getting paid.

Whiteside is set to earn $27.1 million next season in the final season of a four-year deal. After next year, he'll become an unrestricted free agent, and it's likely the Heat won't be bending over backwards to keep him around.

If and when Whiteside officially informs the Heat of his plan to opt in for his final year, they'll be well over the NBA's $132 million luxury tax threshold. For a guy who averaged just 12.3 points per game and 23.3 minutes last season, Whiteside is an expensive asset for the Heat without a ton of promise on either end of the court.

The Heat could very well end up trying to trade Whiteside if they can find a team willing to accept his outrageous salary, which won't be impossible since his deal is expiring. But that's still a big ask given that centers without a reliable jump shot don't carry a ton of value in this league in most cases.

It seems as though Hassan Whiteside is only interested in getting paid in Miami. Unless he commits to changing his game like certain other veteran big men have done in recent years, we could be looking at the beginning of the end of his relevance in the league.